Monday, August 31, 2009

Texting & Driving: The most dangerous form of Distracted Driving

Texting and driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving. Dr. Abiodun Akinwuntan of Medical College of Georgia said: "Texting uses four parts of the brain -- visual, verbal, auditory, and motor skills. You have basically pulled all four senses away from driving into texting." Pulling 4 senses away from driving results in Inattention Blindness. Dr. Akinwuntan monitors people in a simulator while they try to drive and text and stated "You can be involved in several near-misses, but it only takes one to make it fatal,"

There's currently a bill (ALERT Drivers Act) in the US Senate requiring states to ban texting and driving or lose federal highway funding. You wouldn't be able to read, write, or send messages. But the bill leaves out looking at emails, so that could still be a danger.

A study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found drivers are 23 times more likely to get into an accident if they're texting or reading emails while driving. There's also an increased risk for simply dialing, talking, or even reaching for a phone.

Link to video and see report. Reporter tries to text & drive in a simulator.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Steer Clear: The best offense is a good defense

Bring on the Defensive Driving Classes! People who text & drive are falsely confident in their abilities. Some are confident of their abilities even after they have had a wreck, and return to Texting & Driving. The confidence of the two people highlighted below suggests they suffer from adolescent menality in addition to inattention blindness when they text & drive....and they text a great deal. To steer clear of these dangerous drivers on the road, you need to be extra alert and prepared.

@DontTwive follower @Ridgeley sent us a link to a recent LA Times Opinion Column titled Texting while Driving: Will those who do it ever stop? The column illustrates how some people not only refuse to give up their phone, but also seem to have a total disregard for the danger they pose on the road to other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. In answering the headline question the column the journalist states:

"My guess is no. I, admittedly, am guilty of texting while driving. And about five years ago this habit of mine resulted in the totaling of my car. Yes, my fault. And yes, stupid, I know. I was 17 years old, a brand new driver stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic less than a mile from my house. I was texting and not paying any attention (the two go together) and pressed the gas instead of the brake, ramming my bright teal land yacht (a 1996 Chrysler LHS) underneath the big pickup truck in front of me. You would think that with that accident I learned my lesson. Au contraire. I still text while driving because it's convenient."

The journalist goes on to say "If the laws are not enforced, simply being "illegal" is not enough of a deterrent to stop talking or texting while driving. It's become too much of a way of life for me and my peers. Sure, there are hands-free devices that would keep me out of trouble in one respect, but ironically I've noticed myself texting in the car even more now that talking is banned. And texting, I believe, is far more dangerous. Trust me from experience."

In the video below Dr. Phil takes on a teen who has been driving for only 4 months and won't stop texting and driving. If anyone knows this teen, DM us her name. We'd love to track her down on Twitter and give her a Follow.

Be safe out alert, drive defensively. You share the road with "blind" people who refuse to see the danger.

Insurance companies offer a 10% discount if you take a defensive driving class (check with your agent for details). The 10% savings is great, but the real savings might be something much more valuable...your life.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Firms race to develop software to eliminate Texting & Driving

A Wall Street Journal Article states that firms are in a rush to develop software to block texts and minimize distractions while driving.

"Many of the apps will simply block texts from being sent or received while the owner is driving. They generally require a smart phone with Global Positioning System technology.

CTIA, whose members include carriers like
AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless, says it supports banning texting while driving altogether. "We think it's incompatible with safe driving," said John Walls, CTIA's vice president of public affairs.

Text-blocking technologies also aren't available on
Apple Inc.'s iPhone because its App Store doesn't allow apps that limit the device's core functions such as text-messaging. Apple didn't respond to requests for comment.

As a result, Zoomsafer Inc., a Reston, Va., start-up, says it is focusing on other devices, such as the BlackBerry. "We would love nothing more than to have a Zoomsafer app for the iPhone," said Matt Howard, a co-founder who began work on the service after nearly hitting a neighbor's son while texting."

Full Article Link
ZoomSafer is @Idrivefocused on Twitter, and check out their amazing website ZoomSafer software detects when you are driving and activates to minimize distractions. It can automatically update your Facebook or Twitter Status to let friends know you are driving. Very cool software with the ability to customize features....even parent controls for teen drivers. A very detailed description of ZoomSafer products is also available at (@TraumaTweets on Twitter). Thanks ZoomSafer for creating ways for people to drive more focused!

Drinking, Texting and Driving

On the afternoon of August 9th in California bar a man drank 5 shots of whiskey and 2 large beers. In another part of town a family prepared enchiladas with other members of Sacred Heart Church to serve to the homeless at a lunch that week.

These two stories intersect in a tragic fashion as Christa Balch stopped at a red light on her way home. Her sister was in the passenger seat, and her two young children (Sebastian, 4 yrs and Ava, 2yrs) were in the back seat of her Honda. Dion Thomas Gussner was twice the legal limit (.16), while driving his pickup truck when he picked up his phone to send a text message. Preliminary reports stated there were no skid marks at the scene. Gussner said he didn't see the Balch's car until it was too late, and he rear ended the Balch's car travelling at approximately 55 mph.

Little Sebastian was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Christa and Ava were flown to the hospital with serious as well as minor injuries. Christa is a doctor and underwent surgery to attempt to repair her wrist. However, Christa's wrist is paralyzed. The family is struggling to deal with Sebastian's death, and the community is rallying around them.

It is unclear if Gussner's drunk driving is the reason for the accident, or if the texting and driving was also a contributing factor. What is clear is that together drunk driving and texting and driving are a deadly mix. A sober driver has "inattention blindness" when texting and driving. A drunk driver would have even less judgement on how long their eyes were off the road, and would have less of a sense if they had drifted over a lane line, or if traffic was a stop ahead of them.

A remorseful Gussner had eyes red and a bowed head as he agreed to receive the maximum penalty of 16 years in prison for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, causing great bodily injury in the crash and injuring multiple victims.

This story comes from a good friend who has ties to the Balch family.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Adults Revert to Adolescent Mentality When Texting & Driving

This article from the John Tesh - Intelligence for your Life ( , @JohnTeshRadio) explains the brain function behind adults making the decision to engage in a dangerous activity such as taking our eyes off the road to text, e-mail, tweet, or even dial or talk on the phone. This article also briefly mentions two companies that have stepped up to impose strict cell phone usage policies. Even if national laws are implemented, enforcing them may be challenging. However, laws are a logical and necessary step to create better road safety. Even without city, state and national laws banning texting and driving, companies can play a key role in creating better road safety by developing their own policies on employee cell phone usage and encouraging safe practices.

Adults Use Work as an Excuse for Texting and Driving - Article Link
"According to Dr. Debra Condren, a business psychologist, the constant pressure to be connected to the office 24/7 makes us revert back to an almost adolescent mentality. We start to believe that we’re invulnerable to the dangers of texting and driving."

In fact, just in the past few months, major companies like DuPont and the U.S. Post Office have made using a mobile phone while driving an offense that can get you fired! .

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Car and Driver Tests Texting & Driving

Car and Driver (, @CARandDRIVER) compared the affects of texting while driving to the affects of drinking and driving. Reaction times were compared.

(NOTE: Many tests results state texting and driving is worse than drinking and driving. Texting and driving as well as drunk driving are total impairments and thus highly dangerous. Don't Drink and Drive and Don't Text and Drive.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

One Text

This video from shows the potential impact of one text. The more people text and drive, the more likely they are to walk a mile in this man's shoes.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Social Networking & Driving

From the UK, the Metro published an article Tweeting & Driving is New Road Danger in April 2009 stating that people were Tweeting behind the wheel. Recent technology has allowed us to stay connected to social media sites via cell phone, which seems great in theory. However, increasingly people are staying in touch behind the wheel. It is hard to ignore the blips and bleeps our cell phones make telling us we have a new e-mail, text, Tweet, a Facebook alert, or a phone call. Incoming and outgoing data takes our eyes off the one place they need to be when we are driving. On the road. DontTwive LOVES Tweeting...and driving...just not at the same time.

The Metro Article Reports:
"The survey of 1,000 motorists also showed that while 92% knew it was illegal to use a hand-held mobile while driving, as many as 45% sent text messages and made calls while at the wheel.

Mike Pickard, head of risk and underwriting at esure, said: "There is a time and a place for social networking and it certainly isn't when driving a car. Messages being posted on Twitter from behind the wheel are a real cause for concern for the safety of other motorists and pedestrians.

"With advances in technology and the rise in mobile phone applications available, motorists are being increasingly distracted while behind the wheel - especially as constantly updating friends and family on what we're doing is now becoming the norm.

"Our advice to motorists is to remove this temptation altogether by switching off all mobile technology before driving to ensure focus solely remains on the road ahead."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

RADD and Express Tackle Texting & Driving

RADD 'The Entertainment Industry's Voice for Road Safety' and Express have teamed together to to educate the public about the dangers of texting and driving. In a new campaign aimed at teens celebs Ciara, Jesse McCartney, Brea Grant and Scout Taylor Compton talk about their dedication to keeping their eyes on the road. Ciara appears in a limited edition Express T-Shirt “Hit the Road, TXT L8TR.”

Thanks to for tipping us off to this cool campaign! (@MotherProof on Twitter) The Entertainment Industry's Voice for Road Safety

Monday, August 17, 2009

4 Minutes and 15 Seconds that can save your life

This 4:15 PSA video from the Gwent/Wales Police Department is graphic and intense but left us speechless with its message. Some say this video is too gruesome and YouTube has even blocked the 18 and under group from being able to view (the target audience for this Public Service Announcement.) Read more about the video at

This video should be watched by any driver who thinks they can text and drive. Life can change in one second. One second - less time than it takes to Tweet, text, email, or dial a phone number.

(Note: May want to adjust volume to a lower setting. 1 min Part 2 video also available at finish. )

8/24/09 @ricksanchezCNN of @CNN highlights the Gwent PSA and discusses Tweets regarding Texting & Driving

8/25/09 The Today Show article on this video as well as a 6+ minute segment, @TodayShow

8/25/09 Mashable - The Social Media Guide also covered the video Tweeting it out to 1.34 million followers ( @Mashable).

Thanks to the media for covering the dangers of Texting & Driving! Your attention to Texting and Driving will change behavior and thus save lives.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Distracted Driving

While DontTwive is based on Twitter (, or @DontTwive) and follows people who Don't Tweet & Drive as well as people who do, the ultimate goal it to address all forms of distracted driving. DontTwive's mission is to remind people how dangerous distracted driving can be not only to themselves, but to others on the road. When you use a cell phone while driving engaging in one of the 3T's...talking, texting, tweeting...your mind is not on the road. Period. Once you pick up the cell phone you become a distracted driver, and become a danger on the road.

As a driver you share the road with cyclists, pedestrians and other drivers. It is your responsibility to be a good driver and share the road in a safe manner.

If you still aren't convinced that distracted driving is dangerous, consider that you share the road with many people who are equally or more distracted than you behind the wheel, some taking their eyes off the road for as long as it takes to travel the distance of a football field. As a distracted driver, you might never see another distracted driver coming at you. Period.

Check out the Distracted Driving Links in the side bar...and always #TweetSafe, Text Safe, and Talk Safe.